Formed 30 years ago, Team17 is one of the shining lights of UK video games development and publishing industry. Originally focusing on the Commodore Amiga computer, this Wakefield-based outfit has released dozens of games over the years, often based around its most popular properties such as Worms and Alien Breed. With several of its games available and incoming on Antstream Arcade, we thought it was about time we revealed our super six classic games from this fabulous software house.
Hugely influenced by the illustrious series of Alien films, Alien Breed was first released by Team17 back in 1991, and right now on Antstream Arcade is the Special Edition from a year later. Presented in a top-down view (reminiscent of classic retro games such as Gauntlet and Alien Syndrome, with which the latter it also shares a xenophobic theme), Alien Breed is the story of a lone soldier, left to explore an apparently abandoned space station. It won’t be long before you realise that this base is very far from unoccupied, but fortunately you’re armed with a trusty machine gun, albeit with a limited ammunition supply.
Key cards, ammo and credits are all strewn around each level and each have a vital use. Keys open the many locked doors that the player encounters, while credits can be used at a computer terminal to upgrade the soldier’s equipment, and with the aliens of Alien Breed becoming larger, more vicious and harder to kill, this is vital should you wish to remain in one piece. Atmospheric, playable and action-packed, Alien Breed is a stone-cold xeno classic, but be alert: this is much more than your run-of-the-mill bug hunt!
Also released in 1992, Project X is a horizontally-scrolling shoot-‘em-up in the tradition of R-Type and Gradius, again for the Commodore Amiga computer. Grisly killer bugs have taken over the planet Ryxx and are threatening the stability of the galaxy. It’s over to the Federation’s number one pilot – you – to fly there and take out the insect menace. In your way stands a vast army of weird and dangerous creatures, spitting bullets, fire and more at the sleek space craft. Blessed with some magnificent music by Team17 stalwart Allister Brimble, dramatic boss face-offs and many unique and complex levels, Project X is a true test for any shoot-‘em-up fan, and one of the finest shooters to appear on the Amiga.
Kingpin bowling is a brilliant ten-pin bowling simulation, and one of the best video game interpretations of the sport you’ll find from any era. Offering quick matches as well as leagues to play in, there’s also the ability to personalise your character and concise reports for each bowling lane, the latter of which can help the player avoid having their ball end up in the gutter. With its simple and intuitive control system and clear, sharp graphics, Kingpin is easy to pick up and hard to put down, and the second in Team17’s short-lived Arcade Sports Series. If you’ve ever wanted to emulate Woody Harrelson or Bill Murray from the movie of the same name, then this is the place to be!
When Capcom released its legendary sequel, Street Fighter II, in 1991, the increased popularity of the one-on-one championship fighting game inevitably led to an assortment of similar games, almost creating a genre of its very own overnight. While the Commodore Amiga received an official port in 1992, games such as Team17’s Body Blows took the template laid down by the arcade classic and gave them a bright makeover, complete with new fighters, special moves and locations. As technically impressive as all of Team17’s Amiga games, Body Blows is home to masses of mindless violence and enormous fun, either solo, or against a friend.
Coded by Andreas Tadic, a founding member of Team17 back in 1990, this eastern-themed beat-‘em-up was the developer/publisher’s first game, and set a high standard for Team17’s Commodore Amiga output in particular, with its fine graphics and varied beat-‘em-up gameplay. Inspired by movies such as The Karate Kid and Kickboxer, Full Contact’s opening screen, complete with an impressively fluid fighter running through their moves, sets the tone for the rest of the game. While the background story is a little on the light side, there’s plenty of high-kickin’ and punchin’ action here to sate fighting fans in a game that proves once more what a wonderful machine the Commodore Amiga could be in the right hands.
Along with Alien Breed, this annelid-themed game swiftly became one of Team17’s most loved properties, beginning all the way back in 1995 with the original Worms, available now on Antstream Arcade. While the curious strategy sub-genre of turn-based artillery games existed well before Andy Davidson first thought about war-mongering invertebrates, it had not really broken out beyond PC gaming, save for Sensible Software’s Cannon Fodder, released two years earlier – also available on Antstream Arcade. In Worms, the player takes control of a squad of the cute little fellows across a variety of lethal levels, with the ultimate aim elimination of all the opposing worms, using whatever methods available, and within a strict time limit. Cute, funny and buckets of fun, Worms is a classic that’s not to be wriggled out of by any retro gamer!